Page images
PDF
EPUB

In the “Hymnus Tabaci "* of RAPHAEL THORIUS, wbile the praise of good, mild tobacco, and its moderate use is sung, we find a picturesque denunciation of the adulterated sort, especially addressed to men of letters. Who use it :

-Shall be ever yawning; and above
All things, they shall the chimney corner love ;
And, except hunger raise them, take delight
To snort by th' fire till it be late i'th' nigbt.
But, O! ye sacred offspring of the Nine,
Whose birth, whose life, whose works are all divine,
You who do dig from Wisdom's paper-pits
Learning's bright ore, and fine it wiih your wits,
Above all other men, see ye do fly
That hucksters mischief and damned villainy;
And, found out by its symptoms, without fuil,

Send it to the flames in gross, not by relail. Literary men have not always followed this advice, though from the many excellent things written on smoking the great majority are in favor of a discriminate affection in the choice of the brand. Byron's sonorous lines in “The Island” hints at the various modes of use, and emphatically gives his own preference for a cigar, while the descriptive lines of John Brougham as emphatically declare for the pipe :

“ A pipe of the nicotian leaf,
The true Nepenthe balm for every grief,
While other joys one sense alone can measure,
This to all senses gives extatic pleasure.

ou feel the radiance of the glowing bowl,
Hear the soft murmurs of the kindling coal,
Smell the sweet fragrance of the honey-dew,
Taste its strong pungency the palate through,
See the blue cloudlets circling to the dome

Imprisoned skies up-floating to their home.”+ This very fully embraces the piper's fascination, and may be taken as a representative opinion. To go through the list of poets, philosophers, painters, church men, dramatists, statesmen, historians, novelists, wits, magazineists, and eminent men generally, who have given their countenance to Tobacco would far exceed the limits of our duty. Suffice it to say that some of the most renowned smokers, like Dr. PARR, HOBBES of Malmesbury, leaac Newton, Isaac Walton, John Locke, and others, lived over the allotted three-score and ten, while some of them went into the nineties. By way of a finishing stroke to this mosaic, we may quote the “Cogitations on a Pipe of Tobacco," by Thomas Dermody, thankful that one so willfully unfortunate found solace at so trifling a cost as he indicates :

" That a simple weed should be of such unparalleled service to the whole junto of philosophers, politicians, parsons, and poets; that a small tube with a competent bore should invigorate their spirits, and kindle up their brain ; is most marvellous. That the peasant may imbibe cheerfulness, the hypo

* A Poem in honor of Tobacco; made English by PETER HAUSTED, M.A. Cambridge, 1651.

+ Brougham's Dramatic Works, vol. 1. "Pocahontas." New York.

chondriac disappoint the bile and the vapors, and the statesman save a whole state, for a halfpenny, is verily incoinprehensible and mysterious. The poet may get inspiration for his Muse, brown paper to scribble on, and humor to please his countrymen, at so small expense. Oh, the blessings of a kind legislature; which thus obliges the world, and exalts the sad hearts of thousands! For my part, I would travel from Counamara to Jerusalem, and thence to the Antipodes, to find a social smoker, a lively coal-fire, and a clear-drawing pipe.

“Lost in the clouds of thy influence, sable nymph of India! and in the depth of thy Castilian tankard, I would defy the world, the pope, and the devil. Besides, thy intoxications are harmless, thy votaries all sentimental, and all (in spite of thy fogs) pervious to the imploring eye of pity, the warm tear of gratitude, and the eloquent sigh of misfortune. Fortunatos nimium!' Golden feast ! second course to the acorns of simplicity, and the unbought dainties of Eden. Light lie the sod on the wight who first explored thee, and long may thy own balm allay the labor of the swarthy slave who planteth thy luxuriant seeds !"

THE ANTI-PETROLEUM MANIA. We published in our last number the ordinance passed by the Brooklyn Common Council to prohibit the storage of crude petroleum, “and to regulate the vending of the same when refined,” within the limits of the city. At the same time we took occasion to express our decided disapprobation at so hasty an act, believing more proof should be required than the Williamsburgh fire before petroleum in every shape is condemned. One swallow never made a summer, nor should one fire or accident be held to establish a principle. We are glad to state that the ordinance above referred to bas been repealed, and that the questions involved will now receive the consideration they deserve before being finally disposed of.

It seems too that England is in danger of acting indiscretly on this question. A bill has there been introduced respecting the “safe keeping of petroleum,” which is so stringent, that it will, if passed, operate almost as a prohibition against the importation and use of the article and its numerous products. The trade, however, will be pleased to know, as the London Times of July 3d tells us, that "an influential statement has been prepared and circulated against the bill," and probably will lead to an investigation which will prevent hasty or improper action.

We think it only requires a little examination to reach a satisfactory solution of this vexed question. There is a gas which will be seen to arise from the wooden casks in which crude petroleum is freqnently shipped. This gas or vapor is explosive. Thus, the Williamsburghi accident is accounted for. The refined oil, however, or any other of the numerous products of petroleum, are not explosive. If, therefore, the crude oil were required to be put up in such a manner or in such vessels as would prevent the escape of this gas, it could be handled without danger. We cannot see that any other regulation is at present needed. Many seem to forget that petroleum is becoming, in a commercial view, one of the most important of our country's products. We should, therefore, be careful not to allow our fears to get the better of our judgment, and lead us to fetter this trade with unnecessary regulations.

CHINA:

ITS INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS-ITB BESOURCES-ITS REBELLION AND ITS FUTURE.

The Empire of China, after preserving its state of isolation for so many centuries, seems to be no longer able to hold itself aloof from the great community of nations, and for several years it has been gradually coming within the vortex of trade, which so speedily swallows up national distinctions and ameliorates the antipathies of races. The thick crust of Chinese exclusiveness was broken through some twenty years since, by the determination of the English to force upon them the trade in opium, which ber Tartar rulers had so long and with so much high principle resisted. The power of arms indeed compelled them to admit the opium, but it went but a little ways towards establishing more friendly intercourse. The nation still remained dead to human sympathies, with, if possible, only an increased dread of the “ red-haired devils,” or “outside barbarians," that so pertinaciously sought to penetrate into their nation. Of late years the Chinese Empire has been, as it were, galvanized into buman intercourse by two potent agents, which may be regarded as the negative and positive poles of the battery. The one was the Christian religion, implanted by GUTSLAFF more than twenty years since, and the other, the gold of California, the news of which, some twelve years ago, awakened the cupidity of that singular people, and drew them in large numbers to the shore of America, where they have since mingled with the representatives of all nations, and earned a knowledge of humanity, as well as much golden treasure. It is remarkable that the gold discoveries of the outside barbarians were admitted to be valuable in the eyes of the Chinese. Gunpowder, steam, and every invention which has forwarded modern civilization, has been successively treated with great contempt by the Chinese, as obsolete inventions of their own.

Gold was too much for their philosophy, however, and they bowed before its power with a humility great as their former pride, and they humbly came in crowds to enjoy the permission to dig.

The operations of the English in 1842, in relation to the opium trade, have long been familiar to the public mind. The opium trade dates from about 1813, at which time a value of nearly $2,500,000 was exported from British India to China. In 1840 it consisted of 37,000 chesis, valued at $28,000,000, and in 1859 the value was $50,000,000. The peculiar position of the Chinese people, who for so many centuries have been manufacturers, and whose country produces almost every variety of raw produce, made them independent of most of the foreign articles offered for sale. Opium, however, became rapidly an irresistible want, and as the import grew in magnitude the demand for silver to pay for it increased in the same proportion, causing the Chinese functionary to exclaim, “The black dirt is always coming in and the pure silver always going out.” The power of India to absorb silver, which was then so conspicuous, has become more manifest in the manner in which she has drained Europe of that metal, step by step, with the influx of gold from California and Australia to supply its place. The effect of the gold discoveries was to impart great animation to business and manufactures, a result of which was a great rise in the prices of raw materials, India goods in particular.

With that rise the imports from India increased in magnitude, to be paid for in silver, which flowed thither in an annually increasing stream.

The result of the opium war was the consent of the Chinese government to admit and legalize the traffic, and also for the first time, in the history of commerce, the formation of commercial treaties with China. The English concluded a treaty with that Empire in 1842. Instead of their trade being confined to Canton, as theretofore, and conducted through twelve hong merchants, five large ports were thrown open-Canton, Amoy, Fu-chow-fu, Ningpo, and Shanghae. With those ports trade became measurably free. From that time to 1858 the commercial relations of the United States with China were regulated by a treaty made July 3, 1844, similar to that made with Great Britain. There had indeed been commercial relations existing between the United States and China as far back as 1784, and the China traders were the merchant princes of the Union. They earned and maintained a high character with the Chinese; but that primitive people were somewhat puzzled with the two enterprising nations—the one English and the other American-both speaking the same language, and both of a bold and enterprising character. Inasmuch, however, as they observed a greater national force and a more considerable command of capital in the hands of the English, they decided the matter by denominating the Americans “ secondchop English.” Under the new treaty the trade between the two countries increased with great rapidity up to 1857, except with the interruption that grew out of the events of 1856, when martial law prevailed in Canton. In 1858 a new treaty was signed by William B. REED, on behalf of the United States, by which other ports were opened to trade, particularly in Formosa. Under these circumstances the American trade increased rapidly; but it is a singular instance of the perversity of Chinese management that, while the three treaties with France, England, and the United States prescribed the payment of tonnage duties, and each was placed on the footing of the most favored nations by treaty, all those vessels belonging to nations with which there were no treaties were free to come and go without any charge whatever. These were Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. This was tempora. rily remedied by an agreement of the consuls and merchants, that all should pay alike.

Meanwhile a vast change has been going on in the internal affairs of the Empire, through the progress of the rebellion.

The operations of the early Catholic mission in China seem not to have been very successful as far as ontward manifestations indicato. Subsequently to 1833, however, Protestant missionary labors appear to have received a stimulant, and Europe, as well as England and the United States, contributed to assist in the promulgation of Christianity. The most active of the agents was Gutslaff, a German scholar and zealous Christian. He originated a Christian union of Chinese converts, with the view to the institution of native preachers, who could penetrate into the provinces of the Empire and report occasionally to headquarters. In 1844 the union numbered 44; in 1845 there were 88; and 1,790 in 1848, and is now more than 3,000. In 1849 there were 119 preachers in 22 provinces of the Empire; of the 119, 44 were in the province of Kwang Tung, where originated the great rebellion. The leader of it, HUNGTSIEN Chuen, bad been a pupil of the missionaries at Hong-Kong. It does not seem at first that the Christian movement in Kwang Tung had VOL. XLVIII.-NO. II.

9

any political object; but the Tartar authorities endeavored to suppress it by beheading the converts as promulgators of " depraved doctrines," and self-preservation led them to combine and resist. In 1848–9 HUNG-TSIENCHUEN set up his standard, and pretending to have been taken up into heaven, and to have been charged with a divine mission to extirpate idolatry and the Tartars, and to promulgate Christianity—be took the generic title of Taeping, or Great Peace. The masses of the native Chinese population knew and cared little about Christianity, nor were they disposed te fight for idolatry; but the expulsion of their foreign conquerors, the Tartars, was a popular object, and they thronged to the standard of HUNG-TSEIN-CHUEN in such multitudes that he was soon in possession of the province of Kwang Tung, except the capital, Canton, which he also would have taken but for the interference of British ships-of-war, and he subsequently made steady progress towards Nankin, the ancient capital of the Empire, which, in 1853, he took possession of, and has held ever since, notwithstanding a siege of some duration by an imperial army, but which was totally routed in May, 1860. Since then the military strength of the rebels has been gradually increasing. Mr. Roberts, an American missionary who has been thirty years in China, and who is now residing at Nankin under the protection of the rebel government, states that they bave several armies in the field, one of them even threatening Pekin; and there is a very strong impression that, but for the British having interdicted the approach of the rebels to the treaty ports, they would speedily fall into their hands, thus depriving the Tartar government of the pecuniary aid which it now derives from the very large customs collections made at the treaty ports, under the superintendence of European agents, who had been in the British service; thus exhibiting a practical illustration of British professed neutrality between the belligerent parties.

The great valley of the Yang-tse-Kiang is the commercial field of which Shanghae is the entrepot. The city is on the Woosung river, about fourteen miles from the sea. It stands on a level and highly cultivated plain, and is enclosed by a wall five miles in circuit, outside of which are populous suburbs. There are numerous manufacturing establishments in Shanghae, and the native trade at this port is, perhaps, more extensive than at any other in China. The population is supposed to reach about 200,000. The chief manufactures are flowered silk, of beautiful and delicate texture ; glass, paper, ivory and bone, gold and silver, and iron wares. Shanghae is an important entrepot of the commerce between the northern and southern provinces of China, exporting manufactured goods to Tien-tsin, in the metropolitan province of Chili, and importing large quantities of pulse, four, meats, rhubarb, and skins, from the shores of the Yellow sea. An extensive internal communication by water facilitates its trade with all the northern half of China, and it has a direct trade with the countries of Central Asia. Its coasting trade is also very extensive-as many as 3,000 junks being often crowded together in its river—from Hainan, Canton, and the Asiatic archipelago. The chief exports of Shanghae to foreign countries are silk, tea, camphor, drugs, cassia, and the best porcelain.

Canton, or Kwang.chan-fu, lies on the left bank of the Choo-Kiang, or Canton river, about 70 miles from its mouth, and is the great commercial emporium of the Empire. The city is enclosed by brick walls, on a sandstone foundation, six or seven miles in circuit, and entered by 12 gates.

« PreviousContinue »